“Focus on the User” searches entire Social Web within Google

 
 

A group of Facebook engineers, along with engineers from Twitter and My Space, have rebuilt Google’s new personalisation feature head on by offering a bookmarklet that integrates other social networks data from Social Web into searches.

The bookmarklet is called “Focus On The User” and compares Google’s recent Search Plus Your World to those that would be, the engineers say, more relevant. However, Search Plus Your World doesn’t include any content from social networks – Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace, but it includes lots of content from Google’s social network, Google Plus.

Director of Product in Facebook, Blake Ross, (one of the creators of Firefox), tweeted today about the site,  and we learned about this bookmarklet, entitled  -  ”Don’t be evil.”  This tool is “designed to add one-click functionality to a browser or web page. When clicked, a bookmarklet performs some function, one of a wide variety such as a search query or data extraction.” This  bookmarklet is a tool meant to directly expose Google’s recent moves with Google+ as “biased, hardcoded, and against Google’s core philosophy” (which besides “don’t be evil,” has always been about “focusing on the user”).

On the site Focus On The User, where you can get the bookmarklet and the code, it says, “This proof of concept was built by some engineers at Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, in consultation with several other social networking companies. We are open-sourcing the code so that anyone may use it or make it even better.”

They also explain how this bookmarklet works: “If Google decides that it’s relevant to surface Google+ page as a result in any of the areas where Google+ content is hardcoded, the tool searches Google for the name of the Google+ page. Then, the tool identifies the social profiles within the first ten pages of Google results (top 100 results). The ones Google ranks highest — whether they are from Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Quora, Tumblr, Foursquare, Crunchbase, FriendFeed, Stack Overflow, Github or Google+ — replace the previous results that could only be from Google+. This tool is offered as a bookmarklet, which is a small bit of code that runs in a web browser and temporarily enables additional functionality.”

Some say fight some say this is brilliant but I’m curious of the Google’s reaction on this browser tool as it will raise uncomfortable questions since it’s dominant market share by being the best search engine and displaying the most relevant results for users.

From the site: “How much better Google’s results would be if they included information from across the social web, rather than just Google’s own social network. The results speak for themselves. We created a tool that uses Google’s own relevance measure—the ranking of their organic search results—to determine what social content should appear in the areas where Google+ results are currently hardcoded.” Though, the fact that the video that is uploaded on Youtube shows Google’s openness.

Danica is an internet researcher, consultant and speaker on social media and digital inclusion. Her academic research is rooted in her own practical experiences breaking down digital walls in central European society. She is Tech, and Research editor for Australian Science. Read more of her work at her blog, and follow her on twitter @DanicaR.

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